You've heard about it before haven't you?
People who perform "massage" and claim to be massage therapists but are simply performing illegal and illicit services while claiming to be a therapist.
Professional massage therapists have taken the time and spent money on their education and pass rigorous state board exams to obtain that title.
Establishing clear massage therapy ethics and boundaries is a prerequisite of a prosperous massage and bodywork practice. For any massage therapists who are trying to help people understand the benefits of massage generally, it is important to understand your ethical obligations as well as boundaries that govern your work- for your clients and yourself.
Ethics are sets of moral principles or determining between what we believe is wrong or right. Personal ethics can be influenced by our values, principles and morals shaped by society, religious beliefs and cultural backgrounds.
Boundaries are limits between unacceptable and acceptable behaviors. Boundaries are the cornerstone and foundation of a successful, healthy massage business. Boundaries range from the way you dress as a therapist to the way of you converser with your clients during a massage practice. It includes the products you use, the gifts you receive and give and the way you communicate with your clients on and off the table.
Ethics and boundaries guide professional massage therapists to choose the right and correct path for treating clients. As a professional massage therapists establishing clear ethics and boundaries benefits clients, your careers, and your profession.
The following are principles and ethics rules that professionals massage therapist should uphold and adhere to in the course of their work.
As we strive to practice ethically there are incidences that indicate we are ignoring the ethics put in place. It is unprofessional for massage therapists to practice unethical or incompetent behaviors. The offenses include:
The client has the right to the following:
If the massage therapist respects client rights, ethics will be respected and both the practitioner and client are protected.
The Ethics of Massage Therapists should adhere to five types of boundaries. They include:
1. Physical Boundaries include anything from how the massage rapist set up his/her practice to proper draping and touching as well as to understand client’s preferences and any other contraindications that may exist.
2. Social Boundaries is one of the cross boundary that include talking and dual relationship between therapist and client. Therapist being very clear about his/her professional versus personal role is very important.
3. Emotional Boundaries is also cross boundary which includes transference and countertransference. Transference occurs when client makes professional relationship personal while countertransference occurs when professional is unable to separate the therapeutic relationship from personal feelings surrounding the client. This requires therapist’s to be aware of both themselves and their client feelings and know how to deal with every emotional situation.
4. Sexual Boundaries. when the sexual boundary is crossed, it is quite evident, serious, and damaging. The repercussions of crossing the sexual boundary by either party are strong. Sadly, sexual misconduct is number one claim to insurance companies against massage professionals.
5. Professional Boundaries this include observing jurisdictional laws and regulations, attaining required education and training, maintaining personal competency , considering hygiene, proper attire, record keeping , communication skills, and cleanliness. All this help define individual professionalism and scope of practice.
Violating an ethics code won't in an of itself cause anything to happen. However, many items listed in the massage therapist ethics code are in fact breaking the law in many states. Here's a short list of consequences that may happen:
If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything thus understanding your business ethics and professional boundaries is critical. Observing firmly the boundaries and ethics will ensure our business and personal decisions becoming much easier and your goals reached so much faster.
Having a clear picture of your ethical and professional boundaries keeps you moving in the right direction. This is because no time is spent fretting about if you’re doing the right thing or not.